Monday, June 26, 2017

Story of the World Guides

I've found many guides to extra resources for Story of the World (and made one!).  Check them out below.  If you know of any others


Story of the World Volume I Lesson Ideas
This is my resource.  It's not finished, but being added to gradually.

Usborn World History Resources - Ancient Times
While this is technically for Usborn, it aligns well with Story of the World.

Story of the World Vol 1Chapter by Chapter (Inspiring 1 NH Kids)
(There are more than just the following chapters, but they aren't organized that I can tell in any central location, so you'll have to hunt around her blog for them)
Chapter 1
Chapter 2


Story of the World - Netflix Movie List
by Mommy Lawyer
(I wanted to give her credit since the list was a PDF)

Story of the World Resources 

Story of the World Planners

Story of the World - You Tube Video List

Story of the World Lapbooks

Story of the World and Other Curriculum 
(Schedules for merging various other curriculum with SOTW)

Resource and Activity Guide - Story of the World

Monday, June 19, 2017

Story of the World - Ancient Times: Chap 9 Indus Valley

The Mojenjo-Daro artifact photo above  is licensed by World66 under the
 Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 1.0 Generic license 

Post contains some affiliate links, through which I can earn commission.
  I suggest looking for the books mentioned at your local library.

Below is our lesson on the Indus Valley civilization of Mojenjo- Dar for Story of the World (Vol 1 Chap 9)...along with some additional resources.  This was a fun section on a period of history that is important, but often overlooked. 

PART 1 - Indus Valley Civilization 

There are a couple of neat videos out there showing mock-ups of Mohenjo-daro...I choose one of them to show BEFORE reading this chapter. I thought the chapter would be more interesting if my son could SEE the place where this takes place before he read about it. I also showed him some artifacts from the Indus River Valley civilization from DK Eyewitness Books India*. And I think it worked, because he listened very attentively to this section.

I actually found some much better pictures of Mojenjo Daro in a general "Ancient Civilization" book at our  library later (doh!)....

The Kingfisher Book of the Ancient World

I love love the beautiful illustrations in this book...and WISH I had found it before doing this chapter.  It has become one of my favorite books for supplementing story of the world (the writing is well done too, though since we are using SOTW we didn't read a lot of it, just mostly looked at the pictures)

DK Eyewitness Books India

This is the book we actually used, but it's illustrations of the Indus Valley Civilization was a little lacking.  The "Look Inside" preview on Amazon actually includes the pages we looked at (Page link above) if you want to see.  All of the pictures on those pages were Indus Valley artifacts EXCEPT the painting in the lower right corner that shows the Aryan people, who came later.

PART 2 - The Hunter and the Quail 

You could do these two sections on different days, though I thought the historical info and the story flow together more than in some other chapters with folk tales, so we did read this on the same day.  We took a snack break between the first part and the story though.

I found a picture of some Indian Rock Quail which I showed my son at the beginning of the story, and another picture which actually illustrated this tale which I showed him later. You could also illustrate with a video I found, that tells this same tale in another language. You could turn the sound down and just tell the story over it (though it has some differences: the hunter doesn't throw the net on the quail, he lays seeds on it to catch them, and the ending part where the quail don't work together isn't clearly shown). You'ld want to practice it while the kids aren't looking first, if you tried this.


At home for our activity we played the Professor Indus Game on the BBC website. He liked some of it, but some of the game was really repetitive and we ended before it finished.

At co-op, a teen member made a minecraft simulation of Mojenjo Daro which all the kids added to.  They had a lot of fun with that.

I also found a great hands-on Mojenjo-Daro model activity on the blog Satori Smiles (and she gave me permission to share a picture with you all)..

We didn't do this since we were already covering this lesson in co-op, but I can see where this would be a fun activity.    There's some prep involved but those little bricks could be kept and used in other lessons too.  Lots of mud brick structures in the ancient world you can recreate.


We also read another Indian fable, Once A Mouse, a story of a mouse that was turned into various animals to save him from being eaten, but forgot to be grateful.  My son really enjoyed this one...he even asked to read it again several times before we had to take it back to the library!


Mojenjo Daro Animated Walk-through

Indus Valley Civilization Video (4.03 min)

Crash Course World History Video (9.35 min)
This video is fun, fast paced, and full cartoonish illustrations...but as it's for adults too also has some bigger vocabulary that's not explained.   The beginning part goes over what makes a civilization, before they get to the Indus Valley part, but there's also a shortened version without that part or the very end (which doesn't directly pertain either).

Indus Valley Civilization Website
This website has info, pictures, videos and some interactive content.  I was not able to get the videos to work on my linux computer.

Story of the Quail Video (not in English)
You could turn the sound down and tell the story on top of it....though it has some differences (the hunter doesn't throw the net on the quail, he lays it out, and the ending part where the quail don't work together isn't shown well).

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Books from My Childhood: Ocean Tales

Post contains some affiliate links, through which I can earn commission.
  I suggest looking for the books mentioned at your local library.

I love being able to read the books of my childhood to my children.   Since I grew up on a boat many of my favorite stories involved the sea.  Here are three of my childhood favorites.  All are set in and around the ocean, and in all of them the main characters take a long journey filled with adventure and wonder.

by Stephen Cosgrove

Serendipity was on of my favorite stories as a child...and it became one of my child's favorite stories. It's a book about a pink sea monster who has various adventures while trying to find out who she is. Reading it as an adult was different though.  While I still loved the beautiful illustrations and poetic writing style, it seemed "preachier" than I remember in its message about taking care of our oceans.    But my son didn't seem to be bothered by that and asked me to read it again, and again, and again.

There's two versions of this with older illustrations (which I prefer), and one with newer illustrations made to look more like a cartoon that was based on this (which I never, until recently, even knew about).  This is a first in a series this author wrote, all having fantasy elements, a moral at the end, and the same style of illustration.   At least one of the other stories also features Serendipity:  Cap'n Smudge.   It also was a favorite of mine as a child.
by Leo Lionni

Swimmy is a story about a little fish, and his adventures in the ocean.  I love the beautiful charming "stamped" illustrations.   The story starts out with a tragedy...Swimmy is the only one of a large school of fish that escapes being eaten by a bigger fish.     The book quickly moves on to Swimmy's exploring the ocean and discovering wonderous things until he finds another school of fish, and figures out a way to help them explore the ocean too without being eaten.

I wondered if that would upset my son but it didn't.   Like me as a child, he loved the story and asked to read it many times.

Scuffy the Tugboat
by Gertrude Crampton

This is a story of a little toy tugboat which wants to do bigger things than just float in a bath-tub, and gets a chance when he's lost in a little stream that turns into a giant river taking him all the way to the ocean, where he is found once again.

I'm sure my mom bought it for me as a child because it featured a tug-boat, and we lived on a boat very nearly like it (if colored differently).  I even had a little, similar, tug-boat for my bath.

My children, unfortunately, didn't like this one as much as I did as a child.

 Our Boat

Our family lived here until I was 10.

This post was shared at..

Monday's Musings

Littles Learning Link-up

What to Read Wednesday

Story of the World - Ancient Times - Chap 9: The River Road of India

I hadn't been able to get to the library before starting this chapter, so I didn't supplement with any books, only videos.  But really, the main supplement this section needed was a map, which the Activity Book provided.  And since this section has SO MANY questions, my child actually did fine with it even without more visuals or other supplements, and when we were finished he was interested to learn more about India.

Now, you should know that the Indus River, and the Indus Valley civilization are actually in Pakistan, not India.   It USED to be part of India but now it's not.  So, if you're looking to study the modern countries where these ancient places are located, that's where you'll want to look.

Paragraph 1
I had my son point to all the rivers mentioned on a world map...he's getting pretty good at spotting them.

Paragraph 2 - 6
For these paragraphs I used the map for this chapter from the activity pages (which lacks the city of Ur and Assur that are in the smaller version in the main book, so I added those).    When the imaginary trader from Ur in the book asked "How will you get from Ur to Assyria?" (p 3), I had my son draw a line from Ur to Assur.  When it asked "Can you think of another way to get from Ur to Assur?" my son's first thought wasn't routs, but vehicles...he suggested camels because their feet spread out and wouldn't sink in the sand (thank you Wildcrats for that...LOL).  I told him that was a great idea and many ancient traders did use camels because of that....but in this case there was an EVEN easier way they could go.  I pointed that both Ur and Assur were next to rivers, and traced out the route the book suggested the trader could take by water.

Paragraphs 7 - 8
While I read these paragraphs, I showed my son this aerial video of the Indus River.  The video is just aerial video and middle eastern instrumental music...and I sort of felt like one of those documentary narrators with the video and music playing in the background as I read (I have to admit, that is a fun way to read this...I might look for more instrumental photography videos to read with with future texts).

 I interrupted the text only to point out the Indus river in the video, and ask "Can you see why they call it The Indus Valley?   Look at the mountains around it!"

Paragraph  9 - 10
I switched to a different video for this showing a boat with lateen sails navigating the Arabian sea.   I told my son that this was a ship that might have been like what they had back then...but I should have done my research, because those sails, while they did originate in the near east (possibly Persia or Arabia),  were not used until much later.  If I were doing it again, I might use this video in stead (with the sound turned down).

More Videos

Indus River From Space
- Has narration about the area.

Roadtrip by Indus River (by Wild India)
-This video is taken from a car while driving (but is still very smooth...not shakey video)..only a short amount shows the Indus river before the road then goes inland...but it also shows mud brick houses (still in use TODAY in this area), which might be interesting.  There are no words, just techo music in the background. 

More Indus River Videos from Wild India

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Story of the World - Vol 1 - Ch 8 - The Assyrians

Post contains some affiliate links, through which I can earn commission.
  I suggest looking for the books mentioned at your local library.

For this chapter we supplemented by looking at pictures about Assyria from DK Mesopotamia.   I split up the first section, Shamshi-Adad, King of the Whole World, in two, reading paragraphs 1-8 on one day, and 9 -14 the next day.

We also watched the rest of this video on ancient Mesopotamia that we first started when we were reading about Sumer in chapter 5.  It has a lot on the Assyrians as well, and is just an excellent video for kids (it comes from a Christian perspective).

For the section on The Story of Gilgamesh, I found a beautifully illustrated series of children's books telling the expanded story. 

I decided to only read the first one, Gilgamesh the King, because my son doesn't do extremely well with sad endings and it left off on a more positive note than the other two (and the Story of the World retelling) .

More Story of the World Lessons

Linked Up On

Family Friday 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Story of the Worl - Vol 1 - Ch 7 - Hammurabi's Code

We first started reading Story of the World when my child was 7.   For Chapters 1-6 we went very slowly, doing only one sub-chapter, maybe two a week, and often breaking the sub-chapters into smaller parts over several days.   When we got to chapter 6 we took a long break to study a number of old testament Bible stories that take place between Abraham and Joseph, and while we were doing that I learned that our co-op would be working through Story of the World Volume 1 the following year, so I decided to hold off and wait to cover the rest of the book until then.

This was the first chapter we read the following year.  Though we had participated in activities for our co-op over the chapters we'd already read, we hadn't gone back and read them.  My son had grown a lot in reading patience at that time, so I decided to try all of Chapter 7 in one day...but I wish we hadn't.  It was a little much for him...especially all those laws.  So if I were doing it over I'd read over all the paragraphs UNTIL we got to the list of Hammurabi's laws on one day, and then done the laws the next.

We looked at the carving of Hammurabi and his laws in a library book, but you can also find these pictures at the wikipedia page on Hammurabi.

I talked with my son about how, though some of the laws seemed very harsh, they were much better than no law.  For instance, the "eye for an eye" law was not just giving a punishment, but LIMITING a punishment (so that someone who had lost an eye might not try to do something even worse, like kill the person, in revenge).

Other than that we didn't do a lot on this chapter.  We covering Bible stories too, so when we got to The 10 Commandments (which we studied along with the stories of Moses and the Exodus) then we looked at some of these again and compared Hammurabi's Laws and the 10 Commandments.  That could be done here too.

(Yep, this was a rather uneventful chapter for us.  As we began to work at a faster pace we started doing less as far as projects, though we did still do some creative stuff along the way.)

Monday, June 12, 2017

Story of the World - Vol 1 - Ch 6 - The Jewish People

Image above incorporates picture from Distant Shores Media/Sweet Publishing
licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

Post contains some affiliate links, through which I can earn commission.
I suggest looking for the books mentioned at your local library.

Usually I do separate posts for each sub-chapter, but since we used mostly the same resources for all the sub-sections of this chapter I'm combining them into one post.  We took a long break at this time to not just study the two Bible stories covered in Story of the World,  but many other old testament Bible stories not covered here (you can see how we integrated those with Story of the World here).    And we ended up doing some of the stories twice because I went over them a second time when we did these with our co-op our second year covering Volume 1 (in fact, this was the last chapter we did our first year, by ourselves, not with our the rest of the chapters will be at a little different pace, as my son was able to handle more reading with less adjustments to hold his attention the second year we did this).  We didn't do all the activities listed, but I listed a few others that also looked interesting for your use.

I love the writing in Story of the World.  However you should know it  incorporate some extra-Biblical information (SOTW pulled in some information contained elsewhere about Abrams father's worship of other Gods, and used that as a way to talk about some of the religious practices in Ur)

The SOTW version story of Joseph left out some of the story of Joseph, including the tests with his brothers...which I understand as they could be confusing and make the story longer.  But I wanted to include that and talk about why he might not have trusted his he wanted to make sure his little brother Benjamin was safe and this was a way to make sure of that.  So, on both counts I used text from other Bible stories below to teach these passages in stead of Story of the World.

Books We Used:

The Jesus Storybook Bible
My mother bought this book and CD set for us years ago....and I love it.  It's a beautiful collection of Bible stories that show how all the stories are really ONE story...a Love story about how God rescued his people.  It's gentle and perfect for younger children, but brings out aspects of the stories that even adults can learn from.  I suggest buying the version with the audio CD, as David Suchet's reading of this story is really wonderful (my oldest listened to these tapes over and over...he couldn't get enough of them).   You can also purchase just the book by itself or get it with the animated movie version of this on DVDS too (which I haven't seen so can't comment on).

The Illustrated Jewish Bible for Children
This book has faithful retellings of the Bible stories along with beautiful illustrations, and sidebars with helpful maps, pictures of artifacts and places, and historical and cultural information related to the text.   It's really a perfect book if you want to connect the Bible stories with other aspects of history. 

(NOTE:   Several Jewish reviewers have noted that this book was deceptively titled, as the illustrations contain some Christian symbolism.)

General Bible Story Activities 
(For All Bible Stories)

Story Telling in Sand Box
I had planned to tell the stories of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob using printable Abraham and Sarah on cardboard in a sand box like I had seen on a video (which I can't find now...doh).  But I left the sand I bought outside and it got rained on, and I didn't want to wait or go out and get more.

Wooden Spoon Puppets
These would be another cute way to illustrate these stories

Abraham Activities

Stars Activity
When we studied Abraham and the story about his decendants being like the uncountable stars and sand, we did a simple craft drawing all over a black piece of construction paper with a glue stick and then sprikling glitter on it with stars.  I had bought sand to make sandpaper hills the same way (only on brown paper, cut like hills to paste over the stars), but my sand got rained on the day before so we didn't do that.  You could also cut up sandpaper to do that like this blogger did.  She also used sticker stars, but those were too countable for me.

Here's some more Abraham activities you can do...

Printable Abraham and Sarah Tent and Figures

Abraham and Sarah Lift the Flap Tent

3D Tent Craft

Lapbook Pages/Tent Book

Abraham and Sarah Games 

Isaac and Jacob Activities

Sacrifice of Isaac

Isaac and Rebecca 

Isaac, Jacob and Esau (various)

Jacob and Esau

Jacobs Sons

Joseph Activites

Joseph Puppets

Joseph Coat Activity

Grain Bundle Craft

Creative Commons Illustrations of Joseph Story

While we went on and covered many more Bible stories, we didn't really do any crafts for those, as my son began to be less interested in doing crafts related to the stories.   Again, you can see what we read between various Story of the World chapters to integrate the Bible stories chronologically here.

Linking Up At

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Story of the World Bible Integration: Old Testament

As we are Christians, I wanted to teach more of the Bible stories than were included in Story of the World.  I thought teaching them alongside the history would be helpful to give context to the stories.   It was hard to know where to place some of the stories, as placing some of these precisely in history is not possible.   I'm not attempting to list all the stories here, just most of the major ones. I will list only the chapter EXCEPT where it makes sense to insert the Bible stories between sub-chapters.  Here's the order for our Old Testament reading...I will post a New Testament chronology later.


SOTW Introduction:  How Do We Know What Happened

Creation Story
Adam and Eve
Cane and Able

Ch 1 - The Earliest People

Noahs Ark

Ch 2 - Egyptians Live on the Nile River

Ch 3 -  The First Writing

Tower of Babel
(Also goes nicely around Chap 5)

Ch 4 -  The Old Kingdom of Egypt

Ch 5 -  The First Sumerian Dictator

Ch 6 - The Jewish People

God Speaks to Abraham

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

Joseph Goes to Egypt

The longer story of Joseph
(the SOTW version skips some parts)

Ch 7 - Hammurabi and the Babylonians

(Comparing Hammurabi's code to the 10 Commandments can go here,
even though the 10 Commandments Come Later)

Ch 8 - The Assyrians 

(Job is hard to date but considered very old...could go anywhere really.  There was space here.)

Ch 9 - India (River Valley People)

Ch 10 - Ancient China

Ch 11 - Ancient Africa

Ch 12 - Middle Kingdom of Egypt

Ch 13 - New Kingdom of Egypt

Ch 14 - Isrealites Leave Egypt

Isreal in the Wilderness
10 Commandments
Walls of Jericho
Isreal Enters Promise Land (Joshua)

Ch 15 - The Phonicians

Ruth (could be put anywhere after David/Solomon)
Story of Namaan

Ch 16 - The Return of Assyria


Ch 17 - Babylon Takes Over Again

For this one, some of the Bible stories take place mid-chapter, so...

Nebuchadnezzar's Madness - Paragraph 1 - 3

Daniel Captured/Eating Restrictions
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

Nebuchadnezzar's Madness - Paragraph 4 to End

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Now, at this point, we decided to skip ahead to Chap 21, so I could do the whole story of Daniel in one place, then go back and read all the chapters on the Greeks.  That also makes it easy to do all the rest of the Old Testament stories before starting Ancient Greece.  But you wouldn't have to do that.   All the chapters I skipped to do later are greyed out below.
Ch 18: Life in Early Crete

Ch 19: The Early Greeks

Ch 20: Greece Gets Civilized Again
Daniel and Beltshazar - Writing on the Wall

Ch 21: The Medes and the Persians

 Daniel and the Lions Den
(Note, who "King Darius" is debated, but it's thought
that Cyrus the great put people over areas of his kingdom,
and that King Darius was who he placed over Babylon)

Rebuilding of Jerusalem

That's the end of the Old Testament stories, but between the old  and new testament, Alexander the Great took over the area where Isreal was.  He gave them a lot of freedom to practice their religion, but one of the Seleucids did not, and oppressed the Jews greatly (The Seleucids were descendants of Seleucus, of the four generals who ruled the areas conquered by Alexander the Great after his death).   This lead to the Maccabean revolt, which made Isreal an independant nation for a few hundred years.  The story of Hanukkah directly relates to this.   If you want to add some study of this a good place to do it is after Chapter 25.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Story of the World: Vol 1 - Chap 5 - The First Sumarian Dictator

Post contains some affiliate links, through which I can earn commission.
  I suggest looking for the books mentioned at your local library. 

For Chapter 5 we actually managed to do all the reading on one day.  So why it divided in two days below?  Because we watched a movie on the other day.  

Day 1
The day before we read Chapter 5 in Story of the World we watched the first half of this video (stopping right after the part on cuneiform, at minute 14:40...the rest we are saving for future chapters). It covered  some things we had already learned about Mesopotamia, and added some new things.  This video is aimed at kids and very engaging and well done, from a Christian perspective.

Day 2

For this chapter I supplemented with DK Eyewitness Book: Mesopotamia, a book we used often during the first half of our SOTW: Ancient Times study.

First I prepared some Mesopotamian snacks (pistachios and grapes...I wanted pomegranates but they were out at the store).  I brought out the cuneiform tablet we had done during Chap 3 of Story on the World to have on the table since this chapter mentions that again.

Story of the World Reading

Paragraph 1 -2
I read through the first sentence in the second paragraph, then we stopped and found Egypt and Mesopotamia on the map.  I guestured to the cunieform we had done when it was mentioned, and before paragraph 3 we stopped and looked at  pages 16 -17 in DK Eyewitness Book: Mesopotamia, pointing out the houses people lived in and what they wore, and the foods they ate.  Then I brought out the snack.  My son said he didn't want to eat the pistachios at first but I convinced him to try one, and as soon as he ate it he said "These are the best things, EVER!"

Paragraph 3 - End of Chapter
While he ate we read on, and when Sargon was mentioned we looked at the picture of Sargon on pg 22 of Mesopotamia, (see other visuals online you can use if you don't have that book).   I was going to also  have him do a Dot to Dot puzzle I found on Sargon online to keep his hands busy while I read the rest of the SOTW chaper,  but he was happy snacking so I let that go.

We also read the bit on that page about Sargon's daughter being the first named author in history. 


When it came to activities, my son wasn't interested in any this day, but you can find some good ones at the following links.

1.  Make a Cylinder Seal
With Clay or Playdough, With Foam Stickers

2.  Play The Royal Game of Ur

3.  Build a Ziggurat in Legos

4.  Draw a Ziggurat

4.  Make a Mesopotamian House

(in addition to those in the SOTW Activity Book)



Sargon Head - (Public Domain) 

  • Mesopotamian Army - The first section shows models of the army of UR, and the second section shows models of Sargon's Army.  These look like they are pretty accurate.
  • Sargon (Artistic Interpretation + Historical Statue)
  • Sargon (Cute Cartoon, but definitely historically based)
  • Sargon (More realistic cartoon...not sure if outfit is historical)

This post is linking up at The Homeschool Nook and Homeschool Blog and Tell

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Story of the World: Vol 1 - Ch 4 - Pyramids

Post contains some affiliate links, through which I can earn commission.
Mostly for books, which I suggest looking for at your local library.

I'll have to be honest...after the first few chapters I was having trouble blogging AND planning and actually, you know....homeschooling.  So I took a break though I kept taking notes...mostly.

You see, I sort of missed this section.  Sorry.  No paragraph by paragraph rundown this time.   Though, for the first couple paragraphs, I do suggest searching pinterest for mastaba tomb pictures...there's plenty.  And any non-fiction picture book on Egypt should have plenty of pictures of pyramids, including illustrations of the inside of the great pyramid.  However, if you want a book JUST about pyramids, I suggest this one.....

Now, I do remember the activities we did.

First, we watched a video about one recent theory about how the pyramids were made (I made sure to mention that it was only one of many, but we didn't try to go through all the theories).  On that same site there's a link to an interactive program (thatrequired 3D glasses and some downloadable we didn't do that, but it might be fun).  There's another cute video here that's a little more kid-friendly.

Next we built a pyramid out of legos...with an extra addition to the top.

Other Subject Tie Ins: 3D SHAPES
Since this lesson deals with pyramids, and the next lesson activity suggestion was "cylinder seals"  I thought this would be a great time to learn about 3D shapes.

We covered one shape a day (starting with pyramids and cylinders with the related SOTW chapters), then moving on to unrelated shapes like cubes and spheres.  We would color a page in a printable book, make the 3D paper shape every day and then practice drawing it, using simple online tutorials when necessary.

3D Shapes Printable Book

3D Shapes Printable Book (For Older Kids)

3D Egyptian Style Pyramid Foldable

3D Shapes Foldables

We also read this story involving Egypt and a mystery solved using 3D shapes...

Thanks to the following link-ups 
where this link is shared...


 Graphic For Pinning/Posting

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Freebie Faves

Some of my favorite recent freebies found online...resources worth the ink!


Book:  What Happened in Colonial Times
Collections of short historical biographies that read like fiction.  Available for a limited time.  I've read through these and they are great!   (Christian perspective).

Science and Nature

Bee Life Cycle Book (check and see if still free)

Metals Unit Study

Language Arts

Use Lazer Pointers to Teach Tracking

Full Poetry Unit (through 6/15 Only)


Multiplication Rhyme Flash Cards
Uses rhyme to teach the facts...just a sampling, but enough to try with your kiddo and see if you want to buy the whole set.

Math Fact Addition Strategy Sorting
A strategy practive activity that will also teach you (the teacher) about addition strategies (if you weren't familiar with them)

Skip Counting Dot to Dot Motorcycle

Sir Cumference and the Great Knight of Angeland Freebie Pack

Investigating Angles and Triangles

Measuring Angles Puzzle


Map Skills Booklet


Sign Language Number Mazes

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

How to Teach Your Preschoolers Through Play

One summer, when my oldest was three years old and his little brother was one, we were lounging by our apartment pool while they took a short break from the water to warm up. One of my neighbors turned to me, and gesturing to my older son, asked "So, have you decided where you're going to send him to preschool?"

I was taken aback.   I hadn't even considered sending my kids to preschool...but the question wasn't IF I would send them but WHERE.

You see, when I was a kid, going to preschool wasn't expected. But now, with academic skills being pushed earlier and earlier, Kindergarten is the new 1st grade, and preschool has become the new Kindergarten.  It's no wonder so many parents now feel its a necessity.  Sometimes even homeschoolers feel the pressure sometimes to start their kids on formal academics at a younger age.

But while there's nothing wrong with teaching academics like reading and number skills to a preschooler who seems ready and interested, what children need, what is developmentally ESSENTIAL at this age, is PLAY.   And by play I don't even mean the type of "lessons hidden in play" that I use with my own son in play school.   I mean open ended, child led, free play.

So, when I found out that Amanda from Sicily's Heart & Home was doing a Learn by Play Challenge, I invited her to to write a guest post sharing a little of how children learn through play, and to share her Play Challenge with my readers.

Play! It's such a magical thing, but most of the time we take it for granted. We, parents, tend to think that play is something kids do because it's fun. Well it is fun, but it's not why they play. Play is learning. The two words should really be together in the thesaurus. As Maria Montessori said, "Play is the work of a child." And that's exactly how children view their play. Related: Play and Learn: Can You Do Them at The Same Time? It's hard work to play all day, make discoveries, and explore different ways to do things. That's why it's crucial to start letting your children learn through play at a young age instead of doing worksheets or even pre-planned activities. My daughter, Sicily, is 2 years old. All of her learning has come from her play. Every day we start our morning with a meeting over breakfast. We talk about the calendar, our letter of the week, and theme. We don't do any formal lessons, but we do have casual conversations about these things. We end with a book that relates to our theme. Before I send her off to play...or work...I introduce a new activity that relates to our theme. Sometimes I show her specifically what to do, but then let her create her own meaning and way of using it. Other times, I just set up an invitation to create or explore without any direction. Related: How to Plan  a Child-Led Tot School We still do themes that relate to her interests, and she learns a lot about our themes. The only difference is, I don't formally teach it to her. She learns it all through play.

How to Teach Your Preschooler Through Play

1. Don't Stress

I know it's hard to not stress about your child's education. When we learn to trust our children and trust the process of learning, the stress starts to decrease. When you start intentionally adding ways to learn into your environment, you will see the learning take place. It's hard to see at first because we are programmed to view play as something fun. But when you step back and really consider what is happening, you see all the learning involved.

Let's take the picture below as an example:


To most, this may just look like she's playing in sawdust. Something fun to throw in the air, right? Well yes it is, but there is also a lot of learning happening here. To start, she watched how the saw dust was made as her step dad sawed up some wood. That alone had science, inquiry, engineering, and sensory learning. Just throwing the sawdust in the air helped her learn about gravity, force, motion, sensory processing, and of course developing those gross motor skills. She wanted to take the sawdust inside, so we talked about how we were going to leave it outside because birds could use it for their nests and bugs can make a home under it. Then she got curious and began looking under the sawdust with a magnifying glass to find bugs, so she was learning about bugs and habitats as well. So much learning from one simple little play experience.

2. Make It Fun

You don't have to just sit back and watch your child play. Actually, I discourage it. Your job is to create an environment that welcomes play and learning. Spend time observing your child and creating play experiences that relate around their interests. Most learning happens when the child is interested and has a meaningful connection to the topic. You plan the environment, but not what your child does in the environment. I encourage you to just be a spectator, unless they invite you into their play. If they invite you, then you become their puppet and do as they say. It's their learning and their play. To learn more about how to plan play experiences with learning in mind, click the image below to join the #LearnByPlayChallenge!


3. Have a Flexible Plan

I created our daily routine based on Sicily's natural behaviors. After a week of observation, I noticed that she is engaged first thing after breakfast, so this is when I planned our learning (play) time. She gets 3 hours of it, but this all depends on her mood as well. If she is having a hard time that day, play time is shortened and we usually go to the park, library, and other field trip. If she is engaged in her play, the time may extended longer until she is satisfied with the work she has completed that day. Our play time isn't always inside either. On really nice days, we have our 3 hour play time outside. This 3 hour work period is based off of Montessori's philosophy. She noted that children go through a period of false fatigue where they get super antsy and can't seem to find something to do. Most parents see this as boredom and rush to the rescue to provide an activity. But Montessori believed that if you let the child get through the false fatigue on their own, you will find super engaged, deep, and meaningful play on the other side. And I have! The 3 hour work period doesn't work every day, but most days I can find Sicily in deep concentration after she has experienced that false fatigue. This is what you don't want to interrupt either, or you may end up with a tantrum. Having a flexible plan allows you to provide activities that they can determine what to learn from it, and to allow them the time they need to experience it.


4. Trust

I said it before, and I'm going to say it again. Trust your child and the process. I had a hard time doing this at first. I'm a former teacher, so I was used to telling kids what to do and what to learn. But I've noticed with  my daughter, that when I trust her and I trust the process, the learning comes easier, faster, and she loves to learn.   (Related: Everyday Learning: It's All Around You)  Every morning she asks to do school because it's fun, meaningful, and she is learning about the things that she wants to learn about. This even includes those academic concepts like colors, shapes, numbers, and letters.


5. Understand Their Interests

I think this is the most important point in learning how to let your children learn through play. You have to set up an environment and provide child-led activities that relate to their interests. When we follow their lead and their interests, learning comes natural. Playing and learning can happen at the same time, and the most beautiful learning experiences come from this child-led approach. Remember to join me for the #LearnByPlay Challenge where I'm going to teach you 14 different ways to add play to your everyday experiences.
Much Love,  Amanda

About the Author
    Amanda is the founder of Sicily's Heart & Home where she teaches Beautiful Mamas how to teach their toddlers and preschoolers at home in a child-led environment. She is a former teacher of 11 years where she taught all ages from infants to middle schoolers. Amanda is the creator of The Toddler Experience Curriculum which is a hands-on, process-based, and child-led curriculum for toddlers ages 18 months to 3 years old. She has a 2 year old daughter and a 2 month old son. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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Saturday, April 1, 2017

Born This Month

A few Dover sampler items for people born this month...

Doris Day (Actress) - April 3, 1922 or 1924
Charles Folkard (Artwork by) - April 6, 1878
Leonardo da Vinci 2 3 4(Artwork by) - April 15, 1452
Thomas Hart Benton (Self-portrait by) - April 15, 1889
William Shakespeare -  April 26, 1564

Friday, March 31, 2017

A Kiddo Directed School Day

As I've mention before, much of our learning takes place in "play school,"  which is pretty much like regular school, only when I explain things I'm holding a dinosaur or shark or whoever my son chooses to "be the teacher" for the day.  My son moves around  a number of smaller toy students, and we both speak in silly voices (which usually get lost half way through the lesson).  But it's real lessons and real learning.

The other day, after literally years of letting me teach all the lesson in play school, my son asked if he could be the teacher again.  I had a full day planned, so initially my heart sunk...but then I decided to embrace it (at least a little bit).  I asked if I could teach some of the lessons, and asked what he wanted to teach.  "Math and spelling" he said. 

And I'm so glad he did this.  He was doing just as much review teaching ME (or, um...the students) as we would have done if I was teaching.  And as I had the "students" ask him question it caused him to think about things in different ways.   It was really a great way to do math narration without having to MAKE him explain things, which he usually resists.   It also gave me a good idea of what concepts he was really strong on and which he was still struggling with.

Just another reminder of why I love the flexibility of homeschool.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Pink Monacle Bats!

At co-op we were writing silly newspaper headlines.   I love what my kiddo came up with!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Born This Month

Dover Sampler coloring pages/activities for people born this month....

Pat Nixon (1st Lady to Richard Nixon) - March 16, 1912 
St. Patrick (March 17, sometime in the 5th century)
Harry Clarke (Artwork by) - March 17, 1889
Sandra Day O'Connor - March 26, 1930
Raphael (Artwork by) -   March 28 or April 6, 1483
Vincent Van Gogh (artwork), Resource 2 3 - March 30, 1853

Monday, February 27, 2017

Freebie Faves

I love sharing free resoruces.  Here are my favorite recent freebies.  Make sure to also check out our full free curriculum list here.


Future Flying Saucers Bible Lessons 
Most of the lessons/resources in her store are free!

35 Bible Verse Coloring Pages

Faith Like Joseph Coloring Pages

10 Commandments Booklet

Character First Sample Lessons/Activities (secular resource)
Haven't been through all of these but seems like some good lesson resources.


Anatomy & Physiology,  Logic of Medicine (Expires 3/31)
FULL YEAR online high school science courses.


Cut and Paste Addition Practice
If you don't actually "paste" these can be kept in baggies and reused over and over for practice, so they can be worth the ink.

Language Arts

Contraction Dominoes


Reading Passage and STEM Project - Design a Playground
Has a story and science project.   Work on Language Arts and science simultaneously?  LOVE IT!

Feelings Faces
A fun way explore emotions with your kids.

American Sign Language Alphabet Flash Cards